Charles Villa is a graphic designer and visual communications graduate of the École européenne supérieure d’art de Bretagne (EESAB Rennes). Following his studies, he collaborated with graphic designers Jocelyn Cottencin (2011) and Frédéric Teschner (2012-2014) before joining the Mains d’Œuvres residency program (2014-2015). Within his studio, he collaborates with cultural institutions (CIAP Vassivière, ENSCi-Les Ateliers, Jeu de Paume, Lafayette Anticipations, MAC Lyon, Palais de Tokyo…) and artists on visual identity projects, catalogs, posters, websites, signage and motifs, with a deep interest in printing techniques and image reproduction. Several of his posters have been exhibited at the Festival international de l’affiche et du graphisme de Chaumont (2018 and 2021). In 2020, Charles Villa initiated a research project exploring the resistance of printing inks to solar radiation, for which he was awarded a creation grant from the Centre National des Arts Plastiques (Image Bleue, Dumpling Books edition, 2023). In 2024, he was invited by the cneai= for a residency on the Maison Flottante in Normandy. He is a frequent contributor to workshops and juries at various art schools.

Residency in March 2024

Sur le motif is a research project on the relationship between color and solar radiation carried out during the “research and creation” residency on the cneai = Maison Flottante in Poses (Haute-Normandie) in March 2024.

During my residency, I rubbed blue pigments into printed newspapers from the local press, using cotton and fatty substances. I then transferred this blue ink onto standard A4-size printing sheets. Once coated with ink and fat, these sheets acquired new properties of transparency and gloss. Using small metal fasteners, I joined the different panels together to create a pattern, which I exposed to the different lights of the day. This assembly of 50 sheets constitutes an installation in situ, designed to fit the scale of the Maison Flottante. Placed in front of the living room’s large bay window, this installation acts as a separation between inside and outside, allowing visitors to move around and experiment with the paper’s play of transparency and brilliance.

March is a period of high water on the Seine. Rising water levels forced the authorities to open the dam to drain Paris of its water and prevent the risk of flooding. As a result, the powerful current of the water offers a spectacular and mesmerizing view through the two large windows of the Maison Flottante. The movement of the water creates colorful variations that alternate among the colors of the spectrum according to the time of day. These landscapes reminded me that I was in the territory of the Impressionist painters. I saw a link between my subject of study and the quest of Monet, Boudin, Morisot, Dufy and others to represent the variations of light in colored strokes. During this month-long residency, I rediscovered Impressionism by exploring the collections available in the region: the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen, the MuMa in Le Havre, Claude Monet’s house and garden in Giverny and the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Louviers. The title of the installation and publication, Sur le motif, echoes this relationship with the landscape and the observation of light variations.